They almost boasted about their relatively low GRE scores.
I sat there listening, refusing to engage, knowing the conversation wasn’t for me. I needed to avoid any accusation that I was some sort of affirmative action admit — a term used by white people to discredit the accomplishments of people of color and white women who they feel are unqualified for their positions.
The most classic — and racist — opposition to affirmative action was on display during the most recent formal challenge to the policy, in the Supreme Court case a case that happened at the very university where I now teach sociology.
The case was prompted by Abigail Fisher’s belief that she was denied admission to the University of Texas Austin because she was white, while unqualified students of color took her place. Fisher’s grades and test scores were mediocre compared to those of the incoming class.
It promotes the idea that people of color in higher education don’t deserve to be there — that they got there through a government handout, taking spots that are rightfully owed to white people.
It’s the kind of mythmaking that makes former students like me hold tight to our memorized test scores when we walk into the classroom, as if there’s anything we can do to prove our deservedness. How does this myth reinforce the concept of assimilation in the U. In what ways do Chinese Americans benefit from this myth? Compared to men, very few Chinese women immigrated to the U. And while there were five black and Latino students accepted who had lower grades and scores, there were 42 white students with poorer performance who were accepted into the school.On a larger scale, the idea that there is widespread collusion among liberal university elites to deny white students educational opportunities is laughable.Although there were a number of people of color in my cohort, I was the only one in the classroom early.As we waited, my colleagues, all white, joked enthusiastically about how they were unsure how they were even admitted to our program.The typical backlash to these policies involves myriad white urban legends and a number of lawsuits based on the idea that unqualified “minorities” are awarded positions over more qualified white people.This backlash, even in the form of nationally prominent lawsuits, has generally been initiated by the public.However, the Trump administration may have set out to institutionalize the backlash using Asian Americans and the model minority myth as a prop.According to the New York Times, the Donald Trump–directed, Jeff Sessions–led Justice Department is set to allocate resources to examining “intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions.” In a clever but clichéd turn, a subsequent statement “clarifies” that they are investigating a complaint by a coalition of Asian-American groups that affirmative action policies discriminate against them.